John McTigue's statistical analysis of Matthew Stafford's contract extension adds an illuminating level to Stafford's drop-off in touchdown passes during the 2012 season. Remember, Stafford threw 41 in 2011 and 20 last year.
McTigue: "Bad luck also played a part in Stafford’s diminished red-zone numbers. Detroit receivers were tackled inside the 5-yard line a league-high 23 times. Calvin Johnson was tackled eight times within the 5-yard line, including five times at the 1-yard line -- both numbers were league highs. In 2011, Johnson was tackled just twice inside the 5-yard line and once at the 1-yard line."
Obviously the Lions scored touchdowns on some of those 23 possessions when receivers were tackled near the goal line. It's also not outrageous to project the Lions, who set an NFL record by attempting 740 passes last season, would lead the league in most statistics based on opportunity.
At the same time, however, McTigue's research shows us why it's always important to consider the details behind the numbers.